India opening batter Smriti Mandhana has been named as the winner of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for ICC Women’s Cricketer of 2021.
In the limited-overs series against South Africa where India won just two of the eight matches at home, Mandhana played a major role in both of the wins. She made 80 not out as India chased down 158 in the second ODI that helped them level the series and scored 48 not out in the win in the final T20I.
Mandhana played a sublime inning of 78 in the first innings of the one-off Test against England that ended in a draw. She played an important knock of 49 in India’s only win in the ODI series. Her 15-ball 29 and fifty in the T20I series went in vain though as India fell short in both the matches and lost the series 2-1.
Mandhana was in good touch in the series against Australia, starting with the ODI series where she scored 86 in the second ODI. She compiled a brilliant century in the only Test (the first of her career) and was awarded the Player of the Match. She scored her second T20I fifty of the year in the final T20I, though India fell short and lost the series 2-0.
Mandhana made India’s first-ever pink-ball Test even more memorable by smashing her maiden century in the longest format.
The left-hander played her natural game, to begin with, and scored a run-a-ball half-century, playing with caution under the lights.
Mandhana was caught on 80 but was given a reprieve after Ellyse Perry overstepped. She made the most of the lifeline, reaching her first Test century in style with a boundary.
Her innings finally came to an end at 127, after putting India in a strong position. The match ended in a draw, and Mandhana was declared the Player of the Match.